After the events of New Japan Pro Wrestling World Tag League Finals today (for full results, check here), it’s official-- the NEVER Openweight Championship will be defended by Kota Ibushi at Wrestle Kingdom 13 against Will Ospreay.
Ospreay earned his end of the title match with a masterful performance opposite Suzuki-gun’s Taichi. Returning fresh off a rib injury that kept him out of action for the better part of two months, Will persevered as Taichi hammered his ribs from bell to bell, eventually gutting out a pinfall with a superkick that fed right into his trademark Storm Breaker, with some hellacious punishment and a handful of slick exchanges and reversals slipped in amongst the brutality on the way there.
Ibushi’s victory over outgoing champ Hirooki Goto came in a similarly hard-fought match that played out almost as counterpoint, a variation on the theme, with Kota’s neck becoming a target early on after a wicked spill to the floor. Given the amount of Goto’s offense that targets the neck Ibushi might have been in a bad way, but unlike the Aerial Assassin’s ribs, the Golden Star’s neck was a more manageable situation and the match had more ebb and flow to it.
Finally, after a series of potentially ill-advised headbutts that might warrant a few trips to the hyperbaric chamber for both men involved, landed Kamigoye for the win.
Just to make sure we understood the magnitude of the match that’s been made, Will came out and made his intentions clear-- a stage of dreams for a dream match... Wrestle Kingdom 13.
This match sells itself, really. Two of the most absolutely bonkers risk-taking high flyers of their era going head to head on the biggest stage of them all? Sign me up!
There you have it, folks
Excited for your NEVER Openweight Championship match at Wrestle Kingdom 13, Cagesiders?